Since its birth in 1954, CERN - the acronym for Europe's pre-eminent high-energy particle laboratory near Geneva - has been celebrated for its monumental discoveries in particle physics, its succession of Nobel prizes, its construction of a proton collider that may yield enough energy to discover the elusive Higgs boson, a theoretical particle supposedly responsible for endowing all matter with mass. (Still with us?) It was even the place where the World Wide Web was born.
But science marches on - and at CERN, it's now to a decidedly different drummer: the one for the Cernettes, a doo-wop group billed as the world's first particle physics rock band.
Membership in the singing group and its band changes from year to year, but computer scientist cum songwriter Silvano De Genarro constantly provides material to keep the group up to par at the many physics meetings and celebrations where they perform.
De Genarro marries physics arcana to the soulful doo-wop sound of the 1950s and '60s. One popular number is "Collider," a lament involving CERN's atom-smashing Large Hadron Collider:
You never spend your nights with me
You don't go out with other girls either
You prefer your collider
You only love your collider.
Anyone with an Internet connection and a sound card can sample Cernettes tunes like "Strong Interaction" ("You quark me up, you quark me down, you quark me top, you quark me bottom"), "Antiworld" and "Microwave Love" at the group's Web page: http://
cernettes. A degree in physics isn't necessary, but it couldn't hurt.